20.2.12

SCRAPING THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL?

George Leef of Phi Beta Cons recommends an essay by long-time Ball State economist Norman Van Cott. What happens when the minimum grade a student earns in honors principles exceeds the mean grade in principles?
As far as outcomes are concerned, the two courses were effectively two different courses. In my opinion, based on my experience in both classes, the writing component had only a slight influence on the students’ performance.

Should political efforts to spike college enrollments “succeed,” the above performance gap will only worsen. In addition, the performance range within the regular student population will also increase.

It isn’t surprising that Honors students perform at a higher level than their regular student counterparts. They’re Honors students precisely because they have higher levels of academic ability and engagement. But what level of polarization is acceptable? Or do administrators even think about that?
The essay comes complete with confidence intervals and a sensitivity analysis.  Expanding college enrollment, however, isn't going to mean more people going to Harvard or Wisconsin or Northern Illinois or enrolling in honors sections at Ball State.  The people who can make the cut there are there already.   Sounds like a recipe for greater social stratification, with the added cost of frustrated graduates or near-graduates.

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